Category Archives: Differentiation

Customer Treats: AMC Transforms Movie-Watching Experience with Power Recliners

Our strategic objective is very straightforward: we intend to be the customer experience leader. (AMC Theatres)

As a customer, it really is fun when your expectations are completely blown away.  That’s what happened when my Dad and I went to the movies last week.

AMC Theatres Logo

Logo: AMC Theatres.

You see, the Military Capital of the American Revolution has a new, state-of-the-art movie theatre complex.  In early May, AMC Theatres completed a total transformation of its 40,000 square foot Headquarters Plaza 10 in Morristown, NJ.

Anyone who remembers the theatre under previous ownership will be pleasantly shocked. However, it seems to be mostly a secret.  More on that in a moment.

Transformation Features Power Recliner Seats

The entire complex has been given a total makeover:  new theatres, concession areas, bathrooms and lobby.  The transformative highlight is the installation of comfortable, power recliner seats, in AMC red of course.

Continue reading

Razor Battle is On! 800Razors.com Challenges Dollar Shave Club and Gillette.

Photo:  800Razors Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

At first glance, it would be easy to conclude that 800Razors.com is just a Dollar Shave Club copycat in the nearly $2 billion razor cartridge category.

But that would be wrong.

Let’s quickly set the stage for this discussion.

Category leader Gillette built a strong business via a decades-long, continuing series of product innovations that support a premium-price strategy.  They kept some of the older models as part of a tiered product/pricing assortment for consumers.

An opening existed for a competitor to deliver a high-quality blade at much lower cost, and it came via a new business model.  Dollar Shave Club (DSC) emerged as a disruptive player in 2011/2012, getting wide notice with a wacky video featuring its founder.  Its online, recurring monthly sales model (“club”) took dead aim at the category giants selling through traditional retail channels.

Photo:  Dollar Shave Club website.

Photo: Dollar Shave Club website.

Then, in 2013, 800Razors.com joined the fray, building off the DSC approach while incorporating significant go-to-market differences:

Photo:  800Razors.com Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

  1. Buy Only When You Want.  800Razors allows single purchase. Dollar Shave Club does not.  It’s an important difference because it removes a potential obstacle to trial.  For example, I’ve thought about trying DSC but didn’t want to sign-up for regular monthly deliveries. Continue reading

T-Mobile Creates Ticked-Off Parents to Sell Global Travelers

It’s bill-shocked Mom and Dad versus globetrotting son Jeremy in T-Mobile USA’s smart, new, integrated marketing campaign.

The message comes across loud and clear, but there’s some doubt whether T-Mobile can deliver a positive customer experience.

Photo: T-Mobile website.

Photo: T-Mobile website.

The wireless provider is touting its plan that saves users on international data service charges:

“With the Simple Choice Plan, each line comes with unlimited talk, text, and data while on our home network—and starting October 20, unlimited data and text in over 100 countries at no extra charge.”

The marketing campaign includes television advertising, a dedicated website, social media interaction, a contest to win a trip around the world, and airport communications.   There is also a companion effort in Spanish.

Photo: T-Mobile YouTube.

Photo: T-Mobile YouTube.

What stands out, though, are the TV ads.  

Give T-Mobile and its creative partners credit for coming up with an advertising idea that both gets attention and communicates the service benefit.  There’s no “did you see that great ad, but I don’t know the company” here. Continue reading

For Commodity-Busting, Idea Generating Inspiration: Think Hamburgers.

The next time you’re blocked on marketing or business-building ideas, think about hamburgers.

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Because, what’s more of a commodity than hamburgers?

Author Dave Dolak provides this succinct definition:  Commodity products are largely undifferentiated products that offer little or no perceived differences between competitive offerings.

Yet, consider the creativity spawned by the ubiquitous hamburger – so many variations on the same idea that excite consumers every day.

This is top-of-mind for me because I just learned about a hamburger chain called Bareburger, which opened a restaurant in Edgewater, NJ.

It got me thinking.  There seems to be an endless amount of brand concept, product development and overall food establishment new business activity across the country, built around hamburgers.

Obviously, the challenge is to create meaningful differences or reasons to buy.  Build the news or make new news out of existing products.

So, if you’re running a commodity business, tasked with marketing a commodity product, or just in need of some new business ideas, be encouraged.  Draw inspiration from USA hamburger chains. Continue reading

P&G Battery Marketing. Does Duracell’s Quantum Have the Juice to Overtake CopperTop?

Photo: Duracell website.

Photo: Duracell website.

Duracell has just launched a new battery.

Self-proclaimed as “the world’s most advanced alkaline battery,” please welcome Duracell Quantum.

Back in 2009, I wrote about Duracell Smart Power, and why I thought it was a strong brand positioning platform.  Judging from the company’s website, it seems that Duracell has abandoned this approach.

Innovation continues, though, with a new, red battery. Continue reading

Canadian Sports Retailer Delivers Value with Hi-Tech, Not Low Price

“Brands may need to perform an even tougher trick: redefining their own definition of value to one that’s additive.  When not reduced to the question of price, value speaks directly to what benefits a product or service adds to a customer’s life.”    Maureen Morrison and Matthew Creamer in Advertising Age)

There’s more to value than just low price.

Canadian sports retailer Sport Chek believes that.  It’s going high-tech to create what it hopes will be a unique customer buying experience.

Photo: Sport Chek Facebook.

Photo: Sport Chek Facebook.

Sport Chek recently unveiled a technologically souped-up retail store in Toronto that will serve as a living retail laboratory to bring shopping innovation to all of its 163 stores.

Sport Check is leveraging a fundamental shopper insight to battle the “showrooming” phenomenon enabled by website retailing:

Online shopping is great except you can’t always see the product fully, and it’s difficult to experience the product completely because you can’t touch and feel the item.

So, it’s bringing a 360-degree integrated marketing experience to Canadian sporting goods buyers.  It’s convergence, the best of all worlds – see it, touch it, try it, customize it, order it, take it home – all in the same place. Continue reading

CA Winery Blends Packaging & Consumer Insights To Create New Products

Photo: Stranger & Stranger.

Packaging is often an under-appreciated and under-utilized marketing asset.

I’m not talking about the marketing joke with the basic theme that every new brand manager wants to change the label design.  Rather, let’s explore how packaging (both structure and design) can become part of the actual concept and go-to-market strategy.

A California winery has just launched a new range of wines, that in my view, addresses a fundamental issue with buying wine:  more often than not, consumers lack basic wine knowledge and are thus intimidated, confused and uncomfortable buying wine.  But it’s not their fault.  It’s the fault of the wine industry.  I speak as a former wine importer and distributor who used packaging to address this hurdle. Continue reading